Pet Peeves: Home Alone

2 col pet peeves Mark Crantz
By: Mark Crantz

Laguna Beach is a great place to vacation. There are exceptions. My wife sometimes leaves town to get a vacation away from me.  She tells me the kid in me requires a break from time to time. In a way, it’s an honor that she trusts the kid in me to hold down the fort while she is away recharging her batteries. Quite frankly, I’m surprised every time she comes back because I know this kid in me and he makes Dennis the Menace look like a choirboy. It must be that women are attracted to bad boys. I guess I should be glad that I got a bad boy inside of me. Otherwise, I would be making laps forever at LAX without any hope of my wife’s return and then suffer the interminable loss to ever legally reuse the HOV lane upon my return trips to Laguna Beach. Which loss is greater? Well the HOV fine is $341 and the wife’s shopping is off limits for discussion because you can’t put a price on love.

I’m on my own as I transcribe my sentinel notes to you dear readers.  My wife is in Italy.  That’s the country that is shaped like a boot and is on the verge of getting the boot because of its national debt.  My wife and her girl friend are on a shopping mission to get Italy back in the black.  Meanwhile I have my own mission to attend to.  Our house is a smart house. The appliances are smart. Heating and cooling systems are smart. The phones are smart.  The entertainment console is smart. The whole darn place is smart, except for me.  I am not smart.  I’ll be the first to admit that I’m rattled living in a place where the washer and dryer giggle at me.  Ring. Ring. My caller ID shows that my washer is calling me. “Return to laundry. You must separate the whites and color clothing before continuing.  Please advise. When can I expect you? Warning a no response will necessitate a second call to your wife.”  Of course, I rush to the laundry room to appease the washer and save my marriage.  Just as the laundry room fiasco is adverted, a second floor smoke detector squawks low battery, low battery. I ignore the reminder because public service notices tell homeowners to change batteries when you change the clocks. That’s only a month or so away.  I can live with the periodic warnings.  Just as I finish that thought another smoke alarm starts chirping a similar reminder.  Well, I’ll live with two warnings, rather than go to CVS to get new batteries.  Just as I’m about to crack a cold one, a third fire alarm joins the first two.  The third smoke detector is harder to ignore. Ring. Ring.  I check my caller ID.  It says caller Unknown.  I answer my phone to be greeted by, “This is the Laguna Beach Fire Department.  We just received texts from three concerned smoke detectors. You are now on official notice to replace batteries in three business days.  Failure to act will result in a fine and legal notification to your wife.”   Oops, I don’t want that as I rush to CVS pharmacy. I put the new batteries in and make peace with the house’s smart fire protection features.  As I’m about to crack open my celebratory beer my smart phone rings again.  Caller ID announces it is Laguna Recovery.  “Hello, Mr. Crantz, we have just received a call from your refrigerator asking us to conduct a professional 30 day intervention.  Your refrigerator has smart chip historical evidence that you never stop at one celebratory beer.  Your appliances are concerned. Failure to commit yourself will result in notification to your wife.  We’ll see you tomorrow morning.”

“Hi, my name is Mark. I’m a stupid homeowner.”  “Hi Mark. We’re the appliance recovery center.  This class will help improve your technology to reverse your recent smart house eviction.  Failure to pass the class will result in placing your soon to be ex-wife on smart”

I’m not worried because there’s a bad boy in me that the appliances don’t know about.  We’ll see who wears the smarty-pants in this house.


Mark is a transplant to Laguna from Chicago.  He occasionally writes the guest column “Pet Peeves.”  His recently deceased Border Collie, Pokey, is his muse and ghostwriter.

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